Review By HUYEN MACMICHAEL
I received a review copy of Jo MacDonald Hiked in the Woods from the publisher and after following Jo MacDonald when she Saw a Pond and Had a Garden, I was eager to follow as she Hiked in the Woods. As in the previous books, author Mary Quattlebaum uses the familiar Old MacDonald song to teach about animals. It was easy to follow where she led since the text is simple, repetitive, with creative noises that appeal to children. Some of it was a tight squeeze to fit in the old tune, but that shouldn’t stop anyone from singing the story. Of course, Laura J. Bryant does another lovely job of illustrating colorful, playful illustrations of forest scenes that include Jo and her her grandfather Old MacDonald.
Although Jo MacDonald Saw a Pond is still my favorite of this series, I think the science pages at the back of Jo MacDonald Hiked in the Woods is richer and covers more ground than the other books in the series and I feel it is geared towards a slightly older audience than the previous books. The ending includes an interactive activity for kids relating to the story (perfect for developing reading comprehension in young readers) then four pages of descriptions and thumbnail illustrations of forest flora and fauna (I love that there is as much about the different plants and trees as there is about the wild animals!), as well as suggested activities for young naturalists and several online resources listed for additional ways to participate in local “Citizen-Scientist” activities. I especially like the paragraphs on being a “safe courteous hiker” and protecting trees. This would be a wonderful book to pair with outdoor programs and first-timers in forest schools — a great addition to their libraries!